Ben Brogan says in his weekly column that the Tory party fighting machine is in full cry. Hmmm. Let us leave that one aside. It is when he turns to the Labour party that the applause starts to ring out. Firstly, Brown:
Until lunchtime yesterday when he issued his “no conspiracy, no cover-up, no deal on oil” statement, Gordon Brown had made no attempt to duck the Lockerbie mess being poured over his head. While everyone else discussed the rights and wrongs of showing compassion to the biggest mass murderer in British criminal history, the Prime Minister just sat simmering in anger, letting himself be splattered by accusations of double-dealing and worse.
There was nothing surprising in his absence from the fray. Mr Brown has made a political career of tactical retreats, of avoiding combat wherever possible, of monastic silences designed to keep his opponents guessing. At the Treasury it worked, because the buck did not stop with him. But in the top job, his capacity for invisibility has proved to be one of his greatest liabilities.
Then he makes this fundamental point:
John Prescott and Alastair Campbell may try to pick fights with the Conservatives on the internet, but the absence of the leader from the field of battle saps morale. Without leadership, there is no one to follow. The Cabinet, with a few honourable exceptions led by Peter Mandelson, is absent from the fray. A party once known for its fighting skills looks and sounds as if it has already surrendered.
This is deadly accurate and has been discussed by John Rentoul and his chief cheerleader. Now, one wouldn't expect Ben Brogan to come up with a solution to help the Labour party, but one has to be found and in double quick time.
Brogan views, which are presumably held by others on the right and also, no doubt, inside the Tory party, make the case why Labour can’t wait until January to play their ace card.